FDA Announces Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes Found in Fresh Express Packaged Salad

SILVER SPRING, Md., Dec. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The following quote is attributed to Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response:

“The FDA, along with the CDC and our state and local partners, is working to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections. To date, a positive sample of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts salad mix has been reported to match the outbreak strain. Fresh Express has voluntarily recalled products and consumers are advised not to eat, sell or serve any recalled products. Our investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to communicate should additional products be implicated.

“Ten people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from eight states. A sample of Fresh Express prepackaged romaine and sweet butter lettuce was collected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of their routine sampling efforts. The sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and was a match to the outbreak strain. Given this, Fresh Express voluntarily ceased production at their Streamwood, Illinois, facility and initiated a recall of certain varieties of its branded and private label salads produced in that facility.

“We will continue to work with our partners and with Fresh Express to determine the source of this outbreak. We remain committed to transparency and providing updates as we learn more during our continuing traceback investigation.”

Additional Information:

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our state and local partners, is working to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections associated with the consumption of packaged salad.
  • To date, this outbreak has been associated with 10 illnesses, 10 hospitalizations and one death spanning the following states: IL, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA and VA. Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 26, 2016, to Oct. 19, 2021.
  • Consumers who have symptoms of listeriosis infection should contact their health care provider. Most people with listeriosis include a fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If the more severe form of listeriosis develops, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. For the very young, the elderly and the immune-compromised, listeriosis can result in death.
  • Fresh Express voluntarily ceased production at their Streamwood, Illinois, facility and initiated a recall of certain varieties of its branded and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois, facility. The recall includes all Use-By Dates of fresh salad items with product codes Z324 through Z350.
  • Consumers, restaurants and retailers, should not eat, sell or serve recalled packaged salads. A full list of recalled products is available on the FDA’s website.
  • The FDA recommends that anyone who received recalled products use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.
  • This is an ongoing investigation, and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Additional Resources:

Media Contact: Kim DiFonzo, 240-651-4191
Consumer Inquiries: 888-723-3366

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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